Louisville, KY (WKQ News): Earlier today, four teenagers fell to their deaths at the Norfolk Southern Railway trestle. One survivor suffered multiple fractures and is in guarded condition at Ten Broeck Hospital. He told authorities that the teens, all recent high school graduates, had been visiting legendary sites including the New Jersey Pine Barrens and the Altamaha River in Georgia. They stopped in Louisville to visit the Pope Lick Monster before traveling north to Michigan.
This survivor claims the group was pushed off the bridge. Authorities had no comment on that rumor. [More…]
Ol’ Rufus Baudot cursed under his breath. As if the Great Depression wasn’t bad enough, now a drought threatened his entire crop. His goats barely had enough to eat and drink, and Ol’ Rufus didn’t think his animals would all survive the brutal summer heat.
The destitute farmer tried to find a buyer for his goats, but others were suffering during these tough times too. At the auction, the farmer received not a single a bid, and — worse — had to drive them back to the farm – burning money he just didn’t have. Rufus leaned against the back of his rust-brown truck, his head hung low as he smoked the last of his hand-rolled cigarettes.
“Problems, friend?” Rufus looked up at the man who spoke with a thick German accent. He was lean and looked young. Rufus figured him to be in his early twenties, based on the stubble on the stranger’s chin. Rufus made a grunting noise, hoping the stranger would leave. “My name’s Titiv, maybe I can help?”
“Only way you can help me is if you’re lookin’ to buy a herd o’ goats,” replied Rufus.
“Times sure are tough. Roosevelt hasn’t done much to help the farmers.” Titiv pulled a flask from his pocket and took a long pull, then passed the container to Rufus. The farmer smelled cheap whiskey, and took a sip to be polite before passing it back. “Yes, I think I can help you. Or, rather, I can teach you to help yourself.”
Rufus looked up at the man once again. “What do you mean?”
Titiv smiled. “I can give you power over the land. Never again droughts or floods. Never again beg for money when you sell your animals.”
Rufus spit on the ground. “Yeah, sure. What’s in it for you?”
Titiv pulled a piece of paper from his pocket. “Just sign this contract. You can meet me at Pope Lick Creek, where the railway trestle passes over.”
Rufus knew this was crazy, but what did he have to lose? Titiv produced a pen, seemingly from thin air, and Rufus affixed his name to the contract. As he did, he caught a brief scent of brimstone, or so he thought.
“Meet me tomorrow night, Rufus. And bring the goats.”
All the way home, Rufus thought of the stranger. Whatever Titiv had in mind, Rufus thought he was a damn fool for thinking the odd man could help. Even so, Rufus really had nothing to lose. The next evening, he loaded his goats into the trailer and drove to the trestle Titiv spoke of.
“So good to see you, Rufus.” Titiv grinned, and Rufus felt a chill run down his spine. “And right on time, too. I like that in a man. Let’s get started.” Titiv pulled a large knife from his pocket.
Rufus took a step back. “What are you going to do with that?”
“Me? Nothing. You, however, are going to slaughter your goats, right here in the creek.”
Rufus laughed, though he didn’t find anything funny. “You’re crazy.”
“Am I, Rufus? Or do I hold the answers? Kill the goats, Rufus. They’re only costing you money anyway. You have nothing to lose.”
Rufus took the knife. Once again, he thought he smelled brimstone in the air. “Yeah, you’re right. I have nothing to lose.” An odd look washed over the old farmer’s face. He went into the trailer and in a flurry slaughtered the entire goat herd. Blood spilled from the trailer, turning the still waters of Pope Lick Creek crimson.
Rufus dropped the knife and fell to his knees as a terrible pain erupted in his chest. “What’s happening?”
Titiv laughed. “You really should read a contract before you sign it, Rufus. If you had, you might’ve known my real name. And, of course, you would’ve known that you just gave me your soul! Your body is damned here, Rufus. You control the land – right here at this trestle! Look at it, old man! All this is now yours!”
Titivillus cackled with glee as Rufus felt a bursting within his chest. His legs, too, ached. Rufus looked down and saw in horror as they twisted and became goat legs, complete with cloven hooves. Rufus felt stronger, more alive than he ever had! But at the same time, he felt his life draining away.
One last rational thought raced through Rufus’s mind. “Tell my wife… I love her.”
Titiv laughed. “Just hope she doesn’t come looking here, old man.”
The Pope Lick Monster is a tall, powerful man with the legs of a goat. Coarse fur covers its legs, and thin greasy hair on its head matches. The monster’s body and arms are hairless, and its flesh is extremely pale; its face is twisted as though in pain and a beak-like nose sits upon its face. Two goat horns protrude from the creature’s forehead.
In Your Modern Game
Many areas have their own creature of legend, and Louisville, Kentucky is no exception. The Norfolk Southern Railway trestle is a common site for legend tripping, or traveling to a site specifically because of the urban legend surrounding the location. In this instance, officials have fenced off the dangerous overpass, though adventurous investigators still climb up the steep slope. Every year, several injuries occur at the bridge. Your modern game could revolve around investigating the monster, or even a specific instance of a fall from the bridge.
In Your Fantasy Game
The Pope Lick Monster makes an excellent guardian for a bridge or similar structure. While the creature’s attacks aren’t particularly dangerous to appropriate level characters, the fall from a high bridge increases the danger level of the encounter. Adjusting the height of the bridge is an easy way to increase the danger for particularly powerful groups.
Pope Lick Monster CR 9
LE Large aberration
Init –1; Senses Darkvision 60 ft.; Listen +6, Spot +6
Defense 23, touch 8, flat-footed 23 (–1 Size, –1 Dex, +15 natural)
hp 115 (11d8+66)
Massive Damage 23
Fort +9, Ref +4 , Will +8
Spd 30 ft., climb 15 ft.
Melee 2 claws +15 (2d6+7) and bite +9 (1d8+3)
Space 10 ft. by 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks Hypnosis (DC 16)
Before Combat The Pope Lick Monster prefers to attack from surprise. It climbs the trestle and waits for its victims to get up on the railroad tracks before dropping down into the group.
During Combat The monster enjoys hearing its victims scream as its claws and teeth rend flesh. Even more delightful, however, is the sound of people plummeting off the bridge to their demise below. The monster first attempts to push one target off the bridge. After that, it alternates between Power Attack and Bull Rushing additional targets off the bridge.
Morale The Pope Lick Monster is extremely aggressive; it believes it can handle any encounter, gleefully pushing intruders to its realm off the bridge. The monster’s aggression is dangerous, but could also be its downfall as it is willing to fight to the death.
Str 25, Dex 9, Con 23, Int 5, Wis 12, Cha 12
Base Atk +8; Grp +19
AP 2; Rep +0
Feats Alertness, Bull Rush [B], Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (claws)
Skills Climb +19, Hide +3, Jump +11, Listen +6, Spot +6
Hypnosis (Su): The Pope Lick Monster can hypnotize its victims. As a standard action, the monster can meet the gaze of a single victim within 60 feet who must be able to see the creature. If the victim fails a DC 16 Will save, it is stunned for 1d4 rounds. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Mimicry (Ex): While the Pope Lick Monster doesn’t actually know or understand any languages, it has the uncanny ability to create the sounds of a woman or girl calling for help. The creature makes use of this ability to lure potential victims onto the bridge before springing its attack. Characters who hear the distress call can determine the cry is fake with a DC 25 Sense Motive check.
Spell Resistance: The Pope Lick Monster has spell resistance equal to its Hit Dice plus 10.
Skills: The Pope Lick Monster has a +8 species bonus on Climb checks and can always choose to take 10 on any Climb check, even if rushed or threatened. The Pope Lick Monster also has a +8 species bonus to Hide checks.
Environment Louisville, KY region
Organization Solitary (unique)
Advancement 12–20 HD (Large), 21–35 (Huge)
Level Adjustment —
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